The blog has been abandoned this Summer. Most of my free time had been spent watching television and engaging with micro-communities on Reddit. Suddenly, Heather was pregnant and we went to New Hampshire for 5 weeks and I was fully occupied with studying for and subsequently passing my PMP exam (a dream I’ve had for 10 years and finally conquered). I intentionally and by design let this blog wither on the vine. This year, I started by posting more technology opinions and I appreciate you all who visited to read my thoughts on various tech subjects. This is MY blog and therefore I generally post whatever I’m most interested in at the moment.
Passing my PMP exam is the highlight to my Summer like Heather’s pregnancy is the highlight of my Spring and subsequent birth to be the highlight of my Fall in 2023. Here we are, 4 days ahead of my 37th birthday and I’m short on things to say because I’m not feeling introspective. I will update you all on a few topics. First, health and second motorcycling. Third will be photography and finally my home in the South combined with fatherhood.
Yes, I’m on a plane right now because that’s where I do my best writing and yes I’ve had an old fashioned and maybe two glasses of Rose before that so…sorry. But at least you’re going to get me and not anything filtered or held back.
Health was never this tricky when I was younger. I grew up in a gym. My father owned a gym and taught martial arts. I spent every day after school at his gym and every morning surfing with him. I left Florida weighing 205 pounds at 6’3” with a six-pack. I gained 74 pounds my first year in SF and moved to New Hampshire weighing 305. Doing something about it in 2015 meant dropping to around 260 and I’ve maintained that weight ever since. Thanks to my current jobs exceptional health insurance, I have done all I can to get my weight under control. This meant a lot of hiking starting in December and continuing today then elevating to walking ‘ running 2-3 miles around the neighborhood 3 times a week. I disrupted my routine when I had rotator cuff surgery in April and then resumed things by joining a gym and working out 3 times a week on strength with one class a week focused on cardio. My 5 weeks in New Hampshire had 4 of those weeks as 2 a week in the gym and 3 a week of hiking or running. In addition, I have been with a nutritionist since April, have done full metabolic panels a few times and have been working with some great physicians, chiropractors and other folks to meet my goals.
I started this journey weighing 268 pounds and after 8 months, I’m at 259 pounds. Anyone who loses 50 pounds after turning 35 has my appreciation and respect. This has been very challenging. Speaking of Old Fashioned, I have cut down severely on alcohol to almost nothing at all. I fell off the wagon in July being in the meca of Beer, Vermont but have since gone back to drinking less. I fully expected to lose 5 pounds a month and be nearing my goal weight of 210 right on the horizon but that hasn’t happened.
I’ve since turned to science. I realized in June that I had very low testosterone. Any long time follower of mine could have deduced that. I’ve lived my life different than many other men. I’ll leave it at that but low testosterone has plagued me since I started noticing symptoms at 16 years old. At 36, I have the testosterone of a 75 year old man. That’s fine, it’s not impacting me day to day but it could be causing my challenges in losing weight….maybe not? But not wanting to do a testosterone replacement, I’ve turned to a short-term backup. My weight could be causing an insulin resistance. I’m not diabetic or even pre-diabetic but I’m 50 pounds heavier than i should be so I’m taking Majourno. It’s an injection I take every 7 days and it’s supposed to do a few things to help me lose weight.
Despite almost being at 1800 calories (not exceeding 2150) every day since March, my nutritionist is a bit of a loss. We’re measuring my portions and I’m under my metabolic which is 1900 calories per day to maintain. When you hit 1900 average per week and work out, you should be losing weight. I’m not.
Majourno is supposed to curb my appetite where I only want to have one meal a day and if I overheat, I vomit. My body will flat out reject the extra food I shouldn’t be eating. Additionally, it slows down digestion and releases less stomach acid which should help me process fat much cleaner. Finally, it makes me feel full half of the day so not only do I get full quicker but I’ll have less desire to eat. This should get me down to the 1250 calories per day so I can lose without physical fitness.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been on it for 4 days at a 5MG dose (which increases by 2.5 MG Per month until I get to a 15MG dose) and I don’t feel full and I’m still eating the same. My stomach is moving a bit more like I feel it engaged much sooner into my eating but before this injection, I was eating small portions anyway and only eating 2 meals a day so I think the lack of nausea or vomiting so far is because I was already eating the amount I needed. The last benefit is the insulin resistance helper so maybe I start burning more calories thanks to this injection’s properties and less about what I feel? If I still hit 1800 calories without being full, maybe the digestive properties of this help me further absorb less? I don’t know. I’ll do this for 3 months, aka finally hit my 10 MG dosage and if I haven’t lost any weight, I think it’s time for the next step.
See, a few doctors thought that my testosterone was low because of my extra weight. With a lower rate and increased activity, testosterone would increase but I’ve told a few of them that I’m willing to try what they recommend yet I know I’ve had low testosterone even when I was physically active 8 hours a day as a teenager (surfing, skating, cross-fit, MMA, weight lifting, swimming). Just because I don’t look like a healthy person doesn’t mean my testosterone is suddenly plummeting. Sadly, I have no teenage baseline but I know my body and I’ve always been this way.
My AppleWatch confirms though that I am healthier. My resting heart rate is way up, my VO2 stats are 15% higher than January and my body heat overall has increased a couple of degrees. I am sleeping 8 hours a light, no longer snoring, active 5 days a week and have cut out all fast food and surgery anything. I still need to remove alcohol completely but I am a healthier person. In the mirror, my stomach is down and my muscles are frankly getting huge. I realize I am down some fat and have increased muscle but I was ‘jacked’ at 205. I want that weight back. 205 is the pipe-dream goal and I’d be happy with 220.
I was hoping by the time I turned 37 I’d have more to share and be at goal weight. Sadly, I’m not there yet and it may be another year before I reach my goals.
I’ll be brief on motorcycling. I am now the Vice President of our national motorcycle club. 30K members and here I am at the center of it all. It has been an education to be involved at this level and I’ve enjoyed being a board member for our members. At 36, I had a BMW K75 that I sold before moving to Charlotte. We brought down 4 motorcycles with us but insurance in NC is 4X higher than New Hampshire. I was paying $600 a year for 5 bikes in NH and it’s $1800 a year for 4 bikes in NC. I’ve lowed my coverage amounts and am slowly divesting down to just 2 motorcycles. My BMW R18 cruiser that I LOVE and is so beautiful is listed for sale. My GS will be sold next year and I’ll basically be replacing 2 bikes with one. My dirt bike, the Husky 701 remains an important and valuable piece of my stable so I’ll keep it for a while. It’s a perfect dirt bike for me and I love it. The GS is at 30,000 miles so it’s time to think about replacing it if BMW comes out with something suitable and worthy.
Heather has moved her F750GS up to NH not wanting to register it in North Carolina or pay the insurance so that bike is off the balance sheet for now and awaiting her return after she gives birth and feels comfortable riding again. She loves riding but not while pregnant or in North Carolina. I don’t blame her.
I have not gotten involved in any motorcycle clubs down south. Just going to regional events and riding around to and from work / locally. I’m from the south and don’t mind the heat but all of my gear is designed for northern camping. My 4-season tent and myriad of 0 degree sleeping bags are all made for Vermont camping. Camping down here is pretty miserable in summer so I’m not buying new equipment. Just not going.
That’s the biking update.
My purchase of a Leica Q2 a few months ago has meant I’m taking more photos than ever. It’s always in my bag or around my neck and I get to take photos all of the time. Although, for this Oakland trip, I didn’t bring any cameras due to the high rate of camera thefts there have been lately. I left it home and will rely on the iPhone for what is purely a work trip. The Canon R5 is amazing and much better than the Leica but requires heavy lenses and more space in my bags. Some trips like our recent one to Newfoundland, I brought both. Sometimes, heather totes the Leica and I am with the R5 with a 24-70 lens. The Leica and Canon, when I’m editing produce equally amazing photos. I import both into Lightroom and sort by capture time and other than the fixed Leica focal length, I couldn’t tell you which was taken with the Leica and what came off the R5. Anything zoomed in or ultra-wide, I know it’s the Canon. I grade and edit all of the photos the same. The Leica is like carrying an extra phone with me and I love the photos it take. I may have been nearly as happy with the Ricoh super-compact GR but I am the happiest with the Leica and how well it fits into my shooting flow and produces exceptional photos. The only downside has been the failed / super-slow auto focus. The Q3 gets closer to fixing that but I’m happy having paid less than $5K for my Q2 and am not prepared to pay $2K more for the Q3. Leica shooters being a manual focus group don’t seem to mind that Leica purely sucks at autofocus. That’s okay. If I need to shoot fast, I do have my R5.
I bought the Leica because we have a baby on the way. I wanted a camera always around the house that wasn’t big and bulky. It could go in the diaper bag or bin of the stroller and get tossed around without any moving parts. The Q2 will be perfect for fatherhood and I hope it’s a camera that will last her first 10 years as our family point & shoot. I believe it will.
North Carolina and Fatherhood. There’s a lot to say but it’s as if this chapter is just beginning still or maybe I’m right in the middle of it and current perspective is always a bit hazy until you’ve come out on the other side. Fatherhood, well I’ll be able to judge my success in half-decades and annually it’ll just be a blur. North Carolina, I don’t know how long we’ll be here or how I’ll feel at the end. It’s hard to even mention “the end” yet but that’s certainly going to happen at some point.
As for becoming a Father, it’s now more real as we prepare a baby room and I start thinking of taking some time off work for those first few critical months. Life will change. I hope to be able to still photograph, travel and write but I really can’t say. No plans, just going with it. People keep asking me if I’m ready. I’m ready for anything but I can’t say how it’ll go or how I’ll do. One day at a time.
As I approach 40, this blog has been up since 2007 and I’ve been blogging since 1999. I’ve never managed to find an audience but here I am, still writing for someone. I don’t know.